Category Archives: bioblitz

Educating children to become environmental vandals?!

As I try to find some time, amid the thin interstices of these last weeks of the semester, to finish ID’ing the critters we saw during our bioblitz and write up my report here, I’ve been skimming the reports from our fellow blogger bioblitzers. And I just came across this rather depressing account by Karmen of her encounter with the dark-side of humanity: how some members of our species “relate” to other species, i.e., another example of how much contempt some grown men have for nature, and how these a**holes actively inculcate such attitudes among their own children! Karmen was out sketching some geese by a pond in Colorado, when this happened:

As I sat, softly sketching, watching the geese out of the corner of my eye, I noticed one of the guys who was fishing across the cove had started “exploring”. He walked right across the narrow strip of land that I was drawing, and marched right up to the goose’s nest. I watched, horrified, as he bent down and picked up an egg out of the nest. The geese went nuts, honking at him, but he ignored them, and started to walk back, egg in hand. I was pissed. I put down my pastels, and called out.

“Hey! You do realize that you are on a wildlife refuge, and that bird and its eggs are protected by the Migratory Bird Conservation Act, right?! You’re breaking the law!”

He sneered at me. “It was already broken,” he drawled, with a thick accent that seemed to match his cowboy hat.

I didn’t really know what to say. I sat there, watching and shaking with anger, as he brought his buddy and kid over to stomp around on the nest. Not only was he going to raid the poor bird’s nest, but he was going to teach his little kid how to do it, too. What a way to teach your kids to respect their environment. As they walked, the pile of sticks (one of the focal points in my painting) collapsed under them, sending debris spilling into the cove. They kept poking around the nest, while the geese shouted angrily. What could I do? I grabbed my camera, and took pictures of their despicable desecration of my bioblitz site.

She then also had the presence of mind to take pictures of the poachers’ trucks in the parking lot, including good shots of the license plates, and send all the information off to the Colorado Department of Wildlife’s Operation Game Thief. One now hopes that they haul this guy’s ass in, and that the kid learns something more positive about nature and wildlife than what his father (presumably) has been teaching him.

I guess we were luckier to only run into a sixth grade field trip where the kids were actually learning to appreciate (scientifically from what I overheard) rocks, and plants, and bugs, and birds.

We sure have a lot of work to do on our own species, don’t we? So I’m glad Jose has taken the lead to start a new sustainability club on our campus where we might begin to address some of these kinds of issues as well!

Friday photo: Dung Beetles

I captured this lovely image yesterday at McKenzie Table Mountain Preserve of the Sierra Foothill Conservancy, when some of us went back there for round two of our BioBlitz (after round one was rained out). I’ve got a bunch more photos, and lists of organisms that I haven’t had the time to process, but promise to post a report on here soon. Meanwhile, its friday, I just got out of yet another (not as long as usual) departmental faculty meeting… and you know, this image somehow captures some of the mood!!

But if you want something more… I don’t know… active and snappy? something that makes you snap your fingers and tap your feet? something that might give you some moves to consider on the dance floor on a friday evening? Look below the fold for the bonus video:


And turn up the volume on your speakers to capture the full effect.

Bioblitz at the McKenzie Preserve

Unfortunately, today’s trip to the McKenzie Table Mountain Preserve wasn’t as great as it could be. Why? It’s because it was raining/sprinkling and so therefore most organisms were not out.

For instance, there were hardly any insects. All the insects we seen were primarily the aquatic insects in the stream we stopped by. I was hoping that we could get to see some salamders or newts, but none were seen. What caught my attention at the preserve was that this was supposed to be a PRESERVE. I wondered about that when I saw mosquitofish in the stream system. The stream is supposed to be spawning grounds for amphibians. Whether they were released there or not for mosquito control, I don’t know. I do know that they are destructive and I’m sure they greatly affect the tiger salamander population. I’m sure there’s a trade-off somewhere along those lines.

Bio Blitz Project Proposal From JLS

Blogger Bio Blitz Proposal for HWY 168

I want to participate in the Bio Blitz Project, but I particularly wanted to sample the terminal point of HWY 168 in the Sierra Nevada’s (and maybe Dr. Crosbie’s property). I know the first proposal is a long way away but I still want to drive up there, as far as the weather and climate may permit, or do a transect of several sites on HWY 168. If any of you have anything to say about this please leave a comment.